National’s law & order policy

November 7th, 2011 at 2:37 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s law and order policy is to repeal the three strikes law so repeat violent and sexual offenders get out of jail far quicker. National has just announced five new proposed law changes, on top of the 18 passed to date:

  1. Make it harder for those accused of serious offences to get bail where there is a pattern of offending while on bail.
  2. Make assaults on police and corrections officers an aggravating factor for sentencing.
  3. Random drug and alcohol testing of those on bail or home detention, where this is a condition of their sentence or bail.
  4. Only hold annual parole hearings for those offenders who are addressing their offending and/or completed parts of their offender plan. In other words, no hearing if it is obvious they will not get parole.
  5. Introduce civil detention orders for the very small (5 – 12 a year) number of high-risk offenders who are clinically assessed as being near certain to re-offend when released. Such orders can be sought by the Parole Board from the High Court.

I suspect the civil detention orders are intended for cases like the Beast of Blenheim.

A former girlfriend of the man known as the Beast of Blenheim said she is devastated he will be released next year, and he should never be allowed out of prison.

Stewart Wilson was convicted in 1996 on a raft of sex offences involving 16 females over a 23 year period and is due for release next September.

Asked if he would comply with a condition that he not have any contact with a child under the age of 16, Wilson was reported to have said “I don’t give a stuff about it”.

There are not many offenders, like Wilson. But when he makes it clear he will not comply with any release conditions, and it is almost inevitable he will rape again, there is nothing the current law can do, except wait for him to offend, and then after there is a new victim, do something.

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88 Responses to “National’s law & order policy”

  1. dime (9,473 comments) says:

    “Make assaults on police and corrections officers an aggravating factor for sentencing.”

    Excellent.

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  2. Fisiani (955 comments) says:

    I am convinced that there is a faction in Labour who are deliberately trying to badly lose the election by proposing vote losing policies e.g. abolishing the 3 strikes law and letting dangerous criminals out sooner.

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  3. PaulL (5,875 comments) says:

    Feels like a couple of knee jerks, and a couple of considered things. I worry that the bits that are low volume may take airtime that could be used discussing something useful:
    – civil detention orders. Expect the civil rights people to be up in arms, despite this being intended to impact only a very small number of people. Does it have sufficient controls to avoid a civil liberties problem?
    – Not holding parole hearings for those not likely to get parole. In whose opinion likely? Does this create a coercive power that corrections staff can use against prisoners – is their parole now at the discretion of the corrections staff?

    Overall seems sensible (always does when DPF puts his spin on it).

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,269 comments) says:

    Does it have sufficient controls to avoid a civil liberties problem?

    I can’t see how it can. You get arrested, convicted and sentenced. You then serve your full sentence right to the end, without ever getting parole. They then sentence you again and keep you locked up, despite the sentence having been fully served.

    If the person is dangerous in the sense that they’ve been violent in prison etc., they should be charged for those and those used keep them in longer, but giving the Parole Board the power to apply to effectively sentence someone again for something they’ve already been sentenced for, and already served that sentence cannot have enough safeguards to satisfy the human rights concerns.

    [DPF: As you note the Parole Board can only apply. A High Court Judge decides, just as a Judge decides on preventative detention]

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  5. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    I agree Graeme, this is stalinist powers that can be tweaked and used for other purposes.
    It is not for a society that honours freedom and liberty for it’s citizens.
    Rather execute them at the onset.

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  6. Nick R (497 comments) says:

    The “civil detention orders” sound like something out of the Minority Report. Sentences for crimes people haven’t committed yet based on reports from psychologists. What could possibly go wrong with that? This isn’t so bad if you are talking about people serving indefinite sentences – life or preventive detention – and who want parole. But otherwise it’s dangerous stuff. After all, there’s no logical reason why civil detention should be limited to people who have already committed offences. If the purpose is to prevent harm in the future, they could start locking up all sorts of people.

    [DPF: It is not for people who have not committed an offence. It is for those who are already in jail for such offences. It is not much different to preventative detention - both get decided by a court. But preventative detention is imposed at the time of sentence, while this is imposed if they are still thought to be a huge risk when close to release.]

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  7. ROBBO (14 comments) says:

    Kind of agree with you Mick, but our more recent history suggests otherwise when it comes to dealing with the criminal fraternity and that their freedoms are often of greater consideration than that of their victims.

    If the judiciary exercised more diligence at sentencing, particularly with the application of consecutive vs concurrent in their summation, then some of these scumbags would spend notably lengthy periods where they belong.

    Perhaps then we wouldn’t need constant tweaking to the sentencing/parole laws.

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  8. burt (7,842 comments) says:

    I think Labour’s approach of making sure criminals are comfortable in thier state homes will make a real difference to NZ society. People on state house waiting lists might not agree, but hey lets not let something like that stop us from being as nice as we can to violent criminals – cause if we don’t they might stop voting for Labour.

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  9. Vinick (214 comments) says:

    DPF said:
    There are not many offenders, like Wilson. But when he makes it clear he will not comply with any release conditions, and it is almost inevitable he will rape again, there is nothing the current law can do, except wait for him to offend, and then after there is a new victim, do something.

    Graeme said:
    If the person is dangerous in the sense that they’ve been violent in prison etc., they should be charged for those and those used keep them in longer, but giving the Parole Board the power to apply to effectively sentence someone again for something they’ve already been sentenced for, and already served that sentence cannot have enough safeguards to satisfy the human rights concerns.

    I have strong views both ways, and so i’m not sure where I sit. If someone is sitting in prison and is effectively saying “I will rape/kill again” (which arguably this chap Stuart Wilson is doing) then DPF is correct – they shouldn’t be released. But Graeme hits the nail on the head – i’m queasy about the idea of incarcerating beyond an inmate’s term (in effect a new sentence) for what a Court deems the potential threat to be. Stinks of “future crime” we see in the movies.

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  10. ROBBO (14 comments) says:

    Nick R,

    Instead of using Minority Report as a basis of argument, why not use Nigel Latta.
    He has argued for many years that the worst offenders cannot be rehabilitated and pose significant risk to the wider community. No one could argue with his experience and knowledge on this matter.

    Believe it or not there are actually some really bad bastards who don’t care about the rules you and I subscribe to and most aren’t that hard to spot once they have come to the attention of those who work in Corrections.

    There is nothing surer that this creature from Blenheim will hurt someone.

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  11. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    There is preventive detention for dangerous offenders so they never get released and extended supervision again for dangerous child sex offenders who do not qualify for PD. I am unsure what this policy aims to do presumably it is for those who do not qualify for preventive detention. I do not know why Wilson does not qualify for PD, I assume his offending predates PD or it is not a qualifying offence. But this could go further say for recidivist burglars. I do believe for high risk offenders one should not wait until they offend one should place restrictions on then to make it hard to reoffend. We are cautiously moving to prevention type solutions for high risk and dangerous offenders. In terms of prevention crime making it hard to reoffend is a more practical solution that harsher and harsher sentences AFTER the fact.

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  12. Nick R (497 comments) says:

    @ DPF. I guess I’ll have to check out the detail. But I’d take a lot of persuading that it should be ok to sentence someone to a term of prison, then sentence them to extra punishment after the sentence has been served if they haven’t committed a new offence. Better to sentence them properly in the first place than reserve the right to impose penalties after the fact, I reckon.

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  13. Vinick (214 comments) says:

    tvb said:
    I am unsure what this policy aims to do presumably it is for those who do not qualify for preventive detention. I do not know why Wilson does not qualify for PD, I assume his offending predates PD or it is not a qualifying offence.

    The difference is that those serving PD were sentenced to it. What National is proposing is those serving prison terms could be held after their sentence has been completed (so not those serving preventative detention).

    The issue I (and civil libertarians) will have is that inmates who are due for release and then held beyond that are being given what is in effect a new sentence, without committing a crime (they have served the sentence for the crime they were imprisoned for).

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  14. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    Typical National Party, locking up serious criminals.

    If this keeps up where are Labour going to find the paedophiles and rapists to author the Standard?

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  15. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    I must say that I agree with Graeme’s view on the civil order. Just because it is applied for by the Parole Board and given by a High Court judge does not mean it is in any way less of a restriction of civil liberties. It is essentially saying that we should be able to imprison people outside of a conviction for an offence. Once we accept that it should be done for those who have already been convicted, how long will it be before we think it is acceptable for those who have not committed an offence, or for those who are suspected of committing or being likely to commit an offence?

    With regards 1., it seems to me that this is merely window dressing; a history of offending whilst on bail is already a factor taken into consideration when making a bail decision. This proposed law change may look like something new, but it isn’t.

    The parole hearing bit is a little concerning (although I am not sure what DPF says actually matches up with the policy, the policy says screening rather than annual, but I may have that wrong) because the person doing the screening will be a Corrections officer, so if the officer and the inmate do not get along then you have an avenue for informal punishment by the officer. Knowing what some of the officers are like, that worries me a bit.

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  16. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    The policy aims to leave people in prison. I think a more nuanced approach needs to be taken such as alcohol prohibition orders, electronically monitored curfew in some cases (burglars would be suitable for these).

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  17. MT_Tinman (2,995 comments) says:

    I do not like the Civil Defence Order thing.

    A person is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and, having served his sentence, is punished again, this time for someone’s guess as to what he/she may do.

    Sounds wrong to me but typical of certain current Government ministers knee-jerk-type reactions.

    I suggest a better measure would be to add the Civil Defence Order to the judges armoury, letting those that cannot be sentenced to Life be subject to permanent supervision should the judge order it so.

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  18. kowtow (7,656 comments) says:

    Point #1 Make it harder for bail for serious offences.

    Why was bail made easier for serious offences? Yeah I know ,innocent till proven guilty,but in the bad old good old days I’m sure a seriously accused would not have got bail.

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  19. alex Masterley (1,491 comments) says:

    I don’t like the civil detention order proposal.

    I have quaint view that if you are sentenced to a term of finite imprisonment, then unles you have offended whilst in prison you are released when the term expires. Imprisoning an individual on the basis that person might commit a crime is a bit too Orwelian for me.

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  20. Graeme Edgeler (3,269 comments) says:

    Just because it gets decided by a Judge is no answer.

    Re-trying the acquitted on the basis that you didn’t like a judge’s/jury’s decision the first time around would also be decided by a judge.

    Applying for a civil detention order on the basis that someone who hadn’t ever been proved to have committed a crime was almost certain to commit one in the future would be decided by a judge as well.

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  21. Graeme Edgeler (3,269 comments) says:

    Yeah I know ,innocent till proven guilty,but in the bad old good old days I’m sure a seriously accused would not have got bail.

    In the good old days, police didn’t spend months/years preparing forensic and intercept evidence for a six week trial. You might have been denied bail, but it was for a few months at most before a trial where there two or three eyewitness types and maybe a doctor and the officer in charge.

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  22. NOt1tocommentoften (436 comments) says:

    FES – if 1. is window dressing, then 2. most certainly is as well. Assaults on police and corrections officers is almost certainly already an aggravating factor taken into account in sentencing. Okay, it’s not an explicit factor in section 9, but as far as I am aware (last time I checked in any case) the case law is pretty clear. In addition, there are specific offences in the leg already to deal with these groups (although I recognise these are all horribly out of whack).

    Perhaps what National mean is that they will amend section 9 of the Sentencing Act to make this an explicit factor a judge must take into account. But this is hardly earth shattering stuff. If this is 20% of what National intends to change, then it is somewhat alarming.

    DPF – if this is one of another 5 law changes, “on top of the 18 passed to date”, then it makes me wonder how many of these are actually substantive.

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  23. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # ROBBO (13) Says:
    November 7th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Kind of agree with you Mick, but our more recent history suggests otherwise when it comes to dealing with the criminal fraternity and that their freedoms are often of greater consideration than that of their victims.

    I find this sort of rhetoric usually bullshit. It often results from people having a poor appreciation for due process and wishing to presume guilt before such guilt has been determined. For instance the desire of many to make past convictions admissable despite having no probative value. Another example is the desire to remove the right to silence.

    People often talk of having “victims” more involved in the criminal justice process because they do not appreciate the fact that their status as victims is largely irrelevant. As victims they may be witnesses to a crime but that is all. The fact finding process must not, from the outset, make any presumptions of victimhood on the part of witnesses or guilt on the part of defendants. The freedoms of all of us depend on such presumptions and without them we are all put at risk from the arbitrary exercise of state power.


    If the judiciary exercised more diligence at sentencing, particularly with the application of consecutive vs concurrent in their summation, then some of these scumbags would spend notably lengthy periods where they belong.

    Judges must follow the sentencing guidelines and in particular the guidelines provided by section 84 of the Sentencing Act. Cumulative sentencing is generally only appropriate where the offences for which the offender is convicted are of a different kind. Concurrent sentencing on the other hand is generally appropriate when the offences are of the same kind and are a connected series of offences.

    Judges must also work within other sentencing guidelines and within established precedent. Is it more likely that they aren’t doing this, or is it more likely that you don’t quite understand the rules that must be followed? ;)


    Perhaps then we wouldn’t need constant tweaking to the sentencing/parole laws.

    This doesn’t make sense. If, as you contend, judges are ignoring the law then how would changing the law make a difference? Perhaps the problem is not the judiciary but the public who are ignorant of what the law is and how it works.

    Actually I think tweaking of the law is a good thing. We should always be looking to improve the system, to increase sentences where appropriate and to change rules which have produced unintended consequences.

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  24. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    AM:

    Imprisoning an individual on the basis that person might commit a crime is a bit too Orwelian for me.

    It’s not when that person has a history of multiple, multiple sexual offences against children. That is who this law is targeted at.

    MTT:

    A person is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and, having served his sentence, is punished again, this time for someone’s guess as to what he/she may do.

    Yep, but that’s just life if you’re a cruel rapist and paedophile. One of the reasons we lock them up is to keep others safe. So what if they’ve done the time. If they’re not safe, they should not be let out!

    FES:

    Just because it is applied for by the Parole Board and given by a High Court judge does not mean it is in any way less of a restriction of civil liberties. It is essentially saying that we should be able to imprison people outside of a conviction for an offence.

    Yes, but only if they are already serious offender who is likely to strike again! People who are such risk to society do not deserve civil liberties. They lost those liberties when they raped, forced bestiality, stupefied, ill-treated and indecently assaulted. If they’re not safe, keep them away from the rest of us.

    It’s this old sense of entitlement again. Just as people feel entitled to their dole without have responsibility to pay tax, criminals feel entitled to the liberties we enjoy without the responsibility of following the law themselves.

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  25. Longknives (4,472 comments) says:

    Civil Detention Orders are proposed for “high-risk offenders who are clinically assessed as being near certain to re-offend ”

    For Christ’s sake- We are talking the ‘ticking time bomb’ Graham Burtons and Liam Reids of this World- Absolute pieces of Human Excrement that our society must be protected from!

    I couldn’t give a shit for any perceived breaches of their ‘Human Rights’ …In the good old days they would have had a well deserved appointment at the gallows by now….

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  26. PaulL (5,875 comments) says:

    Hmm. I see (and thank’s Graeme and other commentators for providing enough meat that I can form a better opinion).

    1. Bad to sentence someone again for something they haven’t done yet
    2. Stupid to release someone who is openly telling everyone they’re going to reoffend
    3. Seems to be rewarding people who have the minimum intelligence necessary to pretend they’re not going to reoffend
    4. But if they’re not even that smart, I can see the argument for not letting them out

    Ultimately, it depends how it’s applied. If there really are a small number of people who are in jail for serious crimes and are so stupid/sociopathic that they can’t even be bothered pretending they’ll be law abiding on release, then we probably should keep them locked up. Surely there’s some crime that’s associated with declaring your intent to do something illegal? Flip side, classic slippery slope, and I reckon the number of people involved is so low that we’re buying a lot of slippery for not much benefit.

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  27. PaulL (5,875 comments) says:

    Damn apostrophe sneaked in there. Sigh. Thanks, not thank’s.

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  28. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Asked if he would comply with a condition that he not have any contact with a child under the age of 16, Wilson was reported to have said “I don’t give a stuff about it”.

    ——————————–

    Problem with this example is that it basically says “look he admits he’ll just break the law again so surely he should continue to be locked up”. But surely he’s only so candid because he knows it has no consequence. If you change the law then his lawyer will advise him and he’ll be less candid in which case you have the same problem of trying to predict whether someone will offend again and it would seem we are giving the power to imprison people without due process based on some psychologists guess.

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  29. Graeme Edgeler (3,269 comments) says:

    For Christ’s sake- We are talking the ‘ticking time bomb’ Graham Burtons and Liam Reids of this World- Absolute pieces of Human Excrement that our society must be protected from!

    No, we’re not. They were sentenced to life sentences. This doesn’t apply to people who receive life sentences (or preventive detention), because they can be kept inside prison indefinitely anyway. That’s what a life sentence is.

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  30. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Longknives (563) Says:
    November 7th, 2011 at 4:17 pm


    I couldn’t give a shit for any perceived breaches of their ‘Human Rights’ …In the good old days they would have had a well deserved appointment at the gallows by now….

    A good chance they were innocent as well. Oh well, I suppose such considerations are above your notice.

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  31. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    tristanb (653) Says:
    November 7th, 2011 at 4:14 pm


    Yes, but only if they are already serious offender who is likely to strike again! People who are such risk to society do not deserve civil liberties. They lost those liberties when they raped, forced bestiality, stupefied, ill-treated and indecently assaulted. If they’re not safe, keep them away from the rest of us.

    It’s this old sense of entitlement again. Just as people feel entitled to their dole without have responsibility to pay tax, criminals feel entitled to the liberties we enjoy without the responsibility of following the law themselves.

    With respect, this seems to reflect a remarkably ignorant understanding of how civil liberties originated. They originated because the King would exercise his power arbitrarily. Their purpose is not to prevent criminals from being punished, their purpose is to create a system of laws to which we are all subject and to prevent any one of us from being punished under those laws without due process.

    The “criminal” is entitled to his civil liberties because before he is deemed a criminal his civil liberties must guarantee him due process under law. Without that then power is exercised arbitrarily and we are all at risk.

    If a criminal is convicted of a crime which you think deserves life imprisonment then sentence him to life imprisonment FOR THAT CRIME. But if the crime for which he is originally sentenced only deserves a finite sentence then no further sentence should be imposed without due process otherwise you are, again, exercising state power arbitrarily.

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  32. Scott Chris (5,896 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler says:- “If the person is dangerous in the sense that they’ve been violent in prison etc., they should be charged for those and those used keep them in longer”

    Good point, but you’ll still end up with a few cases of unrepentant offenders who may not have committed crimes whilst imprisoned, but still pose a serious risk to society. If the government is charged with the responsibility of protecting society, then to release this prisoner could be seen as an abdication of responsibility. The civil detention order seems like a reasonable idea to me.

    As for making assaults on police and corrections officers an aggravating factor for sentencing, fine, as long as assaults *by* police and corrections officers are treated in the same manner. Keeps things even.

    The other measures seem to be reasonable tweaks.

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  33. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    Once again parliament is enacting legislation only because the highest paid public servants in the country will not do as their employers want…ie. hand out the maximum sentences provided for when the crimes warrant them. If a sentence for say sexual violation is a max of 20 years then why is the standard about seven?

    Weihana opines that “Judges must follow the sentencing guidelines and in particular the guidelines provided by section 84 of the Sentencing Act. ” Then why on this earth can the “guidelines” not be changed instead of providing for increased maximum sentences which are inevitably ignored?

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  34. NOt1tocommentoften (436 comments) says:

    “Good point, but you’ll still end up with a few cases of unrepentant offenders who may not have committed crimes whilst imprisoned, but still pose a serious risk to society.”

    Woooo. Here we go…

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  35. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    Good point, but you’ll still end up with a few cases of unrepentant offenders who may not have committed crimes whilst imprisoned, but still pose a serious risk to society. If the government is charged with the responsibility of protecting society, then to release this prisoner could be seen as an abdication of responsibility. The civil detention order seems like a reasonable idea to me.

    But being a “serious risk to society” is not a crime. Given that argument is often made by analogy, how long is it before this law would be used to justify further removal of due process? Thin end of the wedge in my view.

    It’s also a mistake to use the “unrepentant offender” example. If he has to repent, he will. If he has to say “I won’t do this again”, he will. The practical reality is that such decisions will rely on the judgment of psychologists and the like and personally I do not see this as a good replacement for due process.

    The government has a responsibility to protect us from criminals but it also has a responsibility to protect us from government. There is always this tendency to view criminal justice in terms of “us” (the victims) and “them” (the criminals). But this terminology is often used as a means to undermine the very principles that enable us, in the first instance, to determine who “us” and “them” are.

    Perhaps what makes this case a little different is that such changes would only apply to people already convicted of a crime and thus afforded due process. But does this mean we should live in a society where the presumption for every offense is life imprisonment until the state arbitrarily decides to release a person? This erodes the principle that people should be free from cruel and unusual punishment and again increases the power of the state to exercise its power arbitrarily.

    Government has its power limited for a reason and it behooves us to exercise caution before discarding centuries of progress in a fit of political opportunism.

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  36. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    Weihana

    As the process stands Government gives a maximum sentence & in most cases leaves the judiciary with heaps of discretion.

    Do you think that actual average sentences of about one third of the maximum (not counting any early release on parole) are realistic?

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  37. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # nasska (2,035) Says:
    November 7th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Once again parliament is enacting legislation only because the highest paid public servants in the country will not do as their employers want…ie. hand out the maximum sentences provided for when the crimes warrant them. If a sentence for say sexual violation is a max of 20 years then why is the standard about seven?

    Presumably because not every incidence of sexual violation is as bad as the worst case of sexual violation. What is the point of discretion if you are going to treat every incident as a worst case scenario? If Parliament intended that then they would have specified 20 years as a mandatory sentence, not a maximum sentence.


    Weihana opines that “Judges must follow the sentencing guidelines and in particular the guidelines provided by section 84 of the Sentencing Act. ” Then why on this earth can the “guidelines” not be changed instead of providing for increased maximum sentences which are inevitably ignored?

    Why should the guidelines be changed? I suspect they are there for good reason, that is to provide consistency in sentencing. The number of offences does not necessarily reflect the gravity of the overall offending compared to a different offender who committed a number of different types of offences. This guideline would seem to be a good one as far as I can tell.

    If the sentences are not long enough then change the guidelines for sentencing. You have provided no evidence that the current guidelines are being ignored. You simply seem to be confusing a maximum sentence with a mandatory sentence.

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  38. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # nasska (2,036) Says:
    November 7th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Weihana

    As the process stands Government gives a maximum sentence & in most cases leaves the judiciary with heaps of discretion.

    Seems reasonable. It allows the judiciary to hand out sentences in a manner that takes account of how serious the offending was. The most heinous crimes are punished with longer sentences while less heinous crimes are punished less severely.


    Do you think that actual average sentences of about one third of the maximum (not counting any early release on parole) are realistic?

    Not sure that is a question I can answer. But presumably most offending is not on the same level as the worst offending.

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  39. backster (2,082 comments) says:

    WEIHANA………explains the problem The SENTENCING GUIDELINES……..They are not necessary and the requirement to virtually outlaw cumulative sentences is stupid. The Judges are paid enough and should be sensible enough to hand out the sentences they individually think appropriate and accept the responsibility for doing so. In that case offenders such as ‘the beast’ would be sentenced to 15-16 terms of say ten years cumulative, though probably the threat alone of cumulative sentences would be a deterrent in itself and he wouldnt have gone for bonus freebie rapes.

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  40. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

     Not1,

    agreed.  As an aside, there was a real debate in NSW when the new government there recently decided to make killing a police officer acting in the line of duty the most serious murder that could be committed by anyone, resulting in, from memory, life without parole upon conviction.  The question being why the life (or, in our case, the physical integrity) of a policeman is more important to the government than the life or physical integrity of an ‘ordinary’ person?  I won’t rehash the arguments in this comment, but I certainly come down the side of the ordinary person, not the police.

     Scott Chris,

    there is no chance of having the police subject to greater penalties for offending by police.  Indeed, it is likely  to be less penalties, not more.  Somewhere recently, in Aus I think but I could be wrong- it might have been the Met in London, there was a call for police immunity on this sort of issue.

    tristanb,

    Yes, but only if they are already serious offender who is likely to strike again!

    And who has already served their sentence for the offence that he/she committed.  That is one of the problems of having a so-called ‘free’ society- people are free to offend as much as they are not to offend.  Society simply says that there will be penalties for such behaviour.  

    People who are such risk to society do not deserve civil liberties.

    But what if they are a serious risk but have yet to commit an offence?  What then?  Also, when you say that such people do not deserve civil liberties, you also mean due process and the like as well, those being civil liberties?

    Just to remind everyone, maximum sentences are there for the very worst type of offending in each category.  Even getting near to a maximum sentence should be difficult, let alone normal.  And most prisoners who get parole get it at between one half and two thirds of their sentence.  From memory, very few are actually released at one third.  That is the first date from which they can apply, not on which it is to be given.

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  41. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    backster

    What you said in spades……the sentencing guidelines should be scrapped & cumulative sentences such as used in the USA imposed. Not many serving 453 years ever reoffend.

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  42. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    backster,

    The Judges are paid enough and should be sensible enough to hand out the sentences they individually think appropriate and accept the responsibility for doing so.

    They are and do, and you know this.  Sentencing guidelines are relatively loose and are there to ensure relative uniformity throughout the country.  Otherwise you would find, as you do in much summary offence sentencing, that where you live becomes a factor in your sentence.  We all know that the further south you go in NZ, the tougher the sentences get. 

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  43. rightoverlabour (70 comments) says:

    Either we have these laws or lynch mobs will re-emerge (in the case of the beast or old tin peg leg, not a bad idea). It could be argued that the death penalty needs revisiting for these types. Cumulative sentencing as opposed to the soft option we have here should also be considered. And please don’t mention “the right”s of these animals….

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  44. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    nasska,

    the problem with the types of sentences that you describe from the USA is that it begins to make a mockery of the system. Plea bargains are such a feature of the US justice systems that the idea of justice being done in many of the cases is impossible. I remember a long conversation with a US academic who specialised in this area, and her view was that you got so much pressure to agree to plea bargains, that guilty people were being offered spectacularly reduced sentences for pleading guilty early, while many innocent people were pleading guilty on a plea bargain because the prospect of being convicted at trial was just too frightening to take the chance on.

    Whatever we do, we must not allow the US style of sentencing to come to NZ.

    rightoverlabour,

    so you would have the death penalty for rape?

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  45. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Weihana, here is a good reading for you. It’s very useful.

    Crime and punishment: the economic burden of impunity

    You can also forward the reference to Patric Gower at TV3.

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  46. rightoverlabour (70 comments) says:

    nasska – rape, no problem with the death penalty for that. Rapists are seldom re habitable anyway. Ask any women ( I am male) that has been raped if they would feel strongly against the death penalty.

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  47. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    rightoverlabour,

    what level of proof would you require for a death penalty to be passed on a convicted rapist? And I would like the research that you are obviously relying on to say that rapists are seldom able to be rehabilitated, please, as I would like to consider it.

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  48. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    F E Smith

    I can see where you are coming from but we’re not debating sentencing for minor offences & generally not for first offenders. My argument stems totally from the public’s right not to have violent criminals in our midst on a revolving door basis. Civilised society gave up forming lynch mobs & the right to protect oneself in favour of police & the judiciary but the pendulum has swung too far towards leniency.

    As an aside I would never propose the death penalty for ANY crime. Our justice system displays its imperfections far too often for that to be an option.

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  49. Inventory2 (10,120 comments) says:

    Scott Chris said

    But being a “serious risk to society” is not a crime.

    So you won’t be outraged when someone like the Beast of Blenheim is released from prison, the commits a serious offence against a family member then Scott?

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  50. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    rightoverlabour

    All violent crime is abhorrent & in my opinion many sentences are too light…..not from a punishment angle but from the perspective of the right of society to keep itself apart from violent criminals. The death penalty, however, has no place in a civilised society.

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  51. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    nasska,

    that is my point re the US style of lengthy sentences- they do provide a deterrent at all levels, but they also lead to unjust results,

    And civil anglo-saxon/anglo-norman society has never really had lynch mobs. You can go back as far as Athelstan in 900 and find a real commitment to justice through the Courts. So it is wrong to say that civil society ‘gave up’ lynch mobs at all. That is a purely US phenomena, localised in the less law abidingl parts of that Country in a time where there often wasn’t a local police force. Anyway, a lynch mob is really just a mob of murderers if they achieve their goal.

    It is also incorrect to say that we gave up the right to defend ourselves in favour of the police and the judiciary. If you say just the Police, then you are far more correct, the judiciary historically having always been in favour of being able to defend oneself. Doing so is really only a problem to the Police, even though they are supposed to be an aid to our right of self-defence, not a replacement.

    Also, could you please point to the time when you think the pendulum was about right, please? Loose dates would be fine.

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  52. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    So you won’t be outraged when someone like the Beast of Blenheim is released from prison, the commits a serious offence against a family member then Scott?

    Not at the justice system, IV2, but rightly so at the offender himself.

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  53. Scott Chris (5,896 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “Thin end of the wedge in my view.”

    Not necessarily. I see it as a rebalancing of rights. There could well be room within the legal system to bolster personal rights, such as the right to smoke and grow weed legally. But those arguments aside, to me, the civil detention law simply makes sense.

    For example, say a paedophile serves a full sentence for child rape, but refuses to take part in any rehabilitation programs, and professes to a firmly held belief that the prohibition of child/adult love is a social construct which he refuses to subscribe to.

    Surely releasing him would be an irresponsible act for an institution empowered by reasonable society to protect its reasonable members from those who are unreasonable?

    In the end, it comes down to what you believe to be the function of incarceration. I see it as attempted rehabilitation, so as far as I’m concerned, the sentence is merely a guideline. What really determines one’s readiness to rejoin society is whether or not one is ready to safely do so.

    I advocate the idea of indefinite sentences for all seriously violent offenders, which would address the problem of vague sentencing. In other words, the offender would have to prove his fitness to rejoin society. (scary I know)

    The problem with fixed sentences is that judges can’t see into the future.

    And yes, I am a liberal.

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  54. Scott Chris (5,896 comments) says:

    Inventory2 says:- “So you won’t be outraged when someone like the Beast of Blenheim is released from prison”

    I’m in favour of the civil detention order. Might pay to read what I actually wrote. Weihana uttered the words you boldscripted.

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  55. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    There could well be room within the legal system to bolster personal rights, such as the right to smoke and grow weed legally

    The right to smoke and/or grow cannabis legally would not be a civil right. It may be decriminalisation, but it would not be a civil right.

    Surely releasing him would be an irresponsible act for an institution empowered by reasonable society to protect its reasonable members from those who are unreasonable?

    Only if you believe that it is acceptable to lock people up based on their personal opinions. 

     In the end, it comes down to what you believe to be the function of incarceration. I see it as attempted rehabilitation, so as far as I’m concerned, the sentence is merely a guideline. What really determines one’s readiness to rejoin society is whether or not one is ready to safely do so.

    Then you need to make all sentences open-ended, not just the serious ones. You need to include theft/burglary in there as well. But I disagree with you. Prison is not reforming in any way. It is merely a punishment.

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  56. rightoverlabour (70 comments) says:

    Fe smith

    You do make a valid point on proof. I would not advocate it for a “he said she said” type case. But there are others where the proof is absolute.

    I don’t have figures, but there is a large amount of evidence that suggests that recidivist rapists are beyond rehabilitation. The psychological make up of a serial rapist would make it difficult for rehabilitation. Refer the links below. No doubt there are many that suggest rapists can be rehabilitated.

    http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/view.php?articleID=3796

    http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/disp_9301_a.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/28/1035683360144.html

    http://www.csun.edu/~psy453/crimes_y.htm

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  57. Inventory2 (10,120 comments) says:

    @ Scott Chris; my bad :-(

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  58. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    F E Smith

    Maybe my instancing of lynch mobs was a slight exaggeration but most of the literature (English) I have read suggests that up to relatively recent times it wasn’t uncommon for summary justice to be handed out without troubling the constabulary or the magistrates. I suspect that the insistence that the police be involved in every facet of justice owes much to empire building within the police establishment. In any case the police as we would recognise them today date from that formed in Britain in 1829.

    As far as when the pendulum of sentencing was in about the right position….I can’t be certain. Prior to say 1980 sentences for minor crimes were ridiculously severe…no one should be going inside for habitual drunkedness or first, second or even subsequent property offences, annoying as they are to the victims.

    About 25-30 years ago sentences for these minor offences were scaled back….fair enough but violent crime began to be seen as the result of “bad upbringings” etc & although the penalties were not reduced the effective sentences were.

    I accept that you are an expert in this field & these are the opinions of a layman but they are shared by many ordinary citizens.

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  59. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    rightoverlabour,

    But there are others where the proof is absolute. 

    True, but then some of those offences may not be bad enough to warrant the death penalty, unless you say that all such offences, no matter how minor they may seem (and some rapes are worse than others, as horrible as that sounds) merit the death penalty.

    nasska,

    most of the literature (English) I have read suggests that up to relatively recent times it wasn’t uncommon for summary justice to be handed out without troubling the constabulary or the magistrates

    Really?  What literature? My reading of legal history tends me towards the view that the English have taken mob violence very seriously as a breach of the peace, even so far as executing ringleaders even when no deaths occurred.  I am always happy to modify that view however, if you can point me in the direction of the research.  However, my current view is that the lynch mob is an extremely minor part of the English tradition.  I might agree with you if you were referring to riots rather than lynch  mobs.

    Prior to say 1980 sentences for minor crimes were ridiculously severe…no one should be going inside for habitual drunkedness or first, second or even subsequent property offences, annoying as they are to the victims.

    About 25-30 years ago sentences for these minor offences were scaled back….fair enough but violent crime began to be seen as the result of “bad upbringings” etc & although the penalties were not reduced the effective sentences were.

    And that is the problem, you see, that you could not actually pick out a time when the system was consistent.  NZ sentences are actually quite harsh when you compare them to English sentences- a rape in England will attract a 4-6 year sentence while in NZ it will attract one of 8-10 years.  Minor offences are also dealt with in a similar pattern, NZ being tougher than England.  Of course, the US leaves us all behind.

    I accept that you are an expert in this field & these are the opinions of a layman but they are shared by many ordinary citizens.

    Actually, I make no claim to be an expert on penal practice, but I am a legal history buff as well as being a criminal lawyer, so feel I do have something to offer.  I would point out that the politicians who write the laws are also laymen, so do not think you have any less to offer than myself or anyone else!

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  60. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    F E Smith

    I wasn’t referring to “legal literature”….I don’t believe I have ever read any… but the normal historic “social literature” that formed part of what a student was forced to read during the wondrous times school holidays were in the 60′s. Even then boat building, hunting & fishing seemed more fun & with the skim reading I practised I would be hard pressed to give specific examples of non judicial justice.

    Re consistency…it is understandable that different countries will be responsible for different patterns of sentencing evolving. As you instance we are about middle ranking & it wouldn’t be easy to argue that because England has a range of ‘x’ to ‘z’ years as the penalty for an offence that we should necessarily follow suit.

    I dare say that law & sentencing can best be described as a work in progress.

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  61. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    it wouldn’t be easy to argue that because England has a range of ‘x’ to ‘z’ years as the penalty for an offence that we should necessarily follow suit.

    I think the are often too lenient on the bad stuff and pay an inordinate amount of attention to the minor stuff.  When the fine for putting a small bit of rubbish in a recycling container exceeds that for shoplifting an item worth GBP100, then you know something is wrong.

    But I actually think NZ is nearer the top of countries for sentencing tariffs.  The US is so far out of the pack as to be irrelevant.  Europe is often, from what I have read, much more lenient than NZ. 

    The problem is that criminal law and sentencing policy is today so much of a political football that it seems to the politicians that they can make much capital out of being tougher on crime than their opponent, whether what they propose is actually a good idea becomes irrelevant.

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  62. reid (15,981 comments) says:

    I have a fairly comprehensive theory on criminal behaviour prevention which I won’t bore you with but one of the aspects is that part of the prison regime in terms of serving ones sentence, is that certain things must happen. One of those things is compulsory rehabilitation counselling. Searching, intelligent, interrogative, intensive, measured, kept up till they are better. If they don’t want to attend, they don’t get the time deducted from their sentence and for all I care, they can die inside.

    That may or may not fix “the beast” but it sure as hell would keep the bastard inside until everyone has had a chance to give it their very best shot.

    Unusually however I’m with the lawyers in their opposition on this proposal. Westminster justice is an elegant brilliant dance and sometimes the steps don’t always avoid toes. But this proposal to ask the HC for an additional sentence over and above that already served is I’m afraid, a Magna Carta anatheama. It’s not quite as bad as the Patriot Act of course (what could be) but it’s a step in that direction. So sure, it’s a problem, but find some other solution, cause this one stinks.

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  63. Scott Chris (5,896 comments) says:

    F E Smith says:- “Only if you believe that it is acceptable to lock people up based on their personal opinions.”

    That’s not what I said. You’d only have to lock people up if their personal opinions cause them to behave in a significantly harmful way, and continue to keep them locked up if they refuse to change their ways. Big difference.

    A person who fantasizes about raping without ever carrying it out is a reasonable person, and can therefore be trusted by society not to harm its members, but he can still advocate the practice of rape if he so wishes. Won’t make him a lot of friends though. (but obviously not incite another to rape)

    >>”Then you need to make all sentences open-ended, not just the serious ones.”

    Yup, but of course, I’d advocate only locking up the serious offenders. And no, I don’t consider Bernie Madoff to be a serious offender in the sense that he would be a continuing threat to society.

    >>”Prison is not reforming in any way. It is merely a punishment.”

    That may be how it functions in reality, but I don’t imagine a “Culture AI” would condone such a regime. Does enlightened society want justice or vengeance? (and by enlightened, I mean society that thinks objectively)

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  64. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    reid

    Agreed. ‘Add on’ sentencing opens up the entire process to corruption or something very close to it hence my arguments above re harsher initial sentences. If additional prison time or special parole conditions are called for then that option is available to the sentencing judge & they should be hung out to dry if they get it wrong. Potential victims in society don’t deserve the status of laboratory rats, there to see if the judiciary have done what they are paid to do.

    Even bearing in mind F E Smith’s comments, it’s possible that the judiciary involved in imposing sentences for violent crime need more preventative detention type penalties available.

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  65. rightoverlabour (70 comments) says:

    Fe Smith

    The death penalty should not be an absolute, if a, then b. I am generally not in favor of the death penalty in most cases. Our judicial system is too flawed. However, where there is no remorse, a real threat to society of re-offense and the crime is at the extreme end of offending, the death penalty could be considered. (Graham Burton, Beast of Bleheim, and some of these http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/image.cfm?c_id=1&gal_cid=1&gallery_id=107140#6946067 though not all.

    Watch the film “Dead man walking” Until the very end one tends to sympathize with the convict, and then they show flash backs of the crime… (although in this case I would not be in favour of execution, as there is remorse).

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  66. AG (1,784 comments) says:

    As I see it, the policy will only apply to people sentenced before the 2002 changes to the Sentencing Act (which broadened the availability of preventative detention) … I simply can’t imagine a court agreeing to (in effect) impose a sentence of preventative detention on a person at their date of release when the sentencing judge did not do so at the time of original sentencing. I note that this not may be the Government’s intent – it may well be that they would want “civil detention” to also apply to folks that a post-2002 court didn’t sentence to preventative detention – but I just can’t see a court agreeing to do so (unless the Govt also tightened the rules on preventative detention generally at the same time … see next paragraph).

    As for people sentenced prior to 2002, such as “the Beast of Blenheim”, then a process that simply applies the post-2002 tests for preventative detention to them before their release could be defended. It would then be as if they were sentenced under current (and tougher) rules, rather than the (laxer) rules that applied when they committed the original offences. Sure, such retrospective sentencing is still a breach of the NZ Bill of Rights Act, and it’s contrary to the rule of law, and all the rest. But we are talking about a National Government, so that’s kind of a given.

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  67. reid (15,981 comments) says:

    It’s an extremely complex field nasska but one things for sure, society hasn’t got the settings right since the outcomes have all been heading south for quite some decades now. So what’s going on there?

    Could it be that there’s a bunch of idiots people in society including the judiciary and the law schools and all over the justice system which is responsible for these outcomes in conjunction with the politicians, who think the cwims are victims? [Of poverty, anger, injustice, you name it, it happens all the time?] I know there are lots of conservatives in those fields too, but IMO, this is a real drag on getting success in this field, those attitudes.

    Whereas there’s another bunch of righteous heroes people who see straight through this bollocks like a laser and issue wise, Solomon-like judgements, all the time?

    And these two bunchs alternate, politically and judicially. From time to time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This to me is one possible root cause of the outcomes we see all the time, the root cause that is of the phenomena that for thirties years now we’re now inured to reading about a murder/rape a week, when it used to only happen once a year.

    This is the complexity of the problem. No-one but politicians have the means to look cross-functionally at all the different areas from education to welfare agency, coming to notice through intervention, to police, to the courts, to the prisons. No-one but politicians. And everyone who works in and is expert in any of the fields involved views their own isolated areas, in isolation. Of course they do, it’s only natural. But to solve this, you have to go cross-functional. And none of the politicians, even though they talk about, ever try to really connect all of those dots. It’s quite obvious to see how to do it, isn’t it. So why hasn’t someone done it, decades ago?

    Why don’t they want to, do you think?

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  68. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    reid

    …”Why don’t they want to, do you think?”…..

    Apart from the sheer size of the exercise there is an overriding reason why it will never be attempted…it would step on the toes of every race, every special interest group, every employer & employee organisation, every religious group & every welfare expert throughout our fair land.

    There is no political will to even look seriously at the problem.

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  69. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    You’d only have to lock people up if their personal opinions cause them to behave in a significantly harmful way, and continue to keep them locked up if they refuse to change their ways.

    I wonder if what you are saying is correct.  It seems to me that any person who has been in prison ceases to have a continuous series of actions that could be attributed to their personal opinion.  That being the case, if they hold an ‘unreasonable’ opinion, as you call it, but have been in prison for 10 years, say, how can we know whether they will actually act on their opinion unless they are released?  Therefore, if you choose to authorise their further detention, it must only be on the basis of their opinion, not their continued actions.

    EDIT: Just noticed the Iain M Banks reference at the end, but of course, such a hypothetical is impossible to follow in relation to current society. When you have a true AI, come back to me!

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  70. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    However, where there is no remorse, a real threat to society of re-offense and the crime is at the extreme end of offending,

     Neither Peter Ellis nor David Dougherty showed remorse for their offending.  Dougherty’s offending was the rape of a child, and at the time, based on your comment re rapists not re-habbing.  Ellis the same. As Graeme Edgler pointed out earlier, the murderers are all subject to life parole, so would not be subject to the Nats regime.

    reid,

    the outcomes have all been heading south for quite some decades now. So what’s going on there?

    Seems to coincide with the introduction of the welfare state, although that may be too simplistic.  Also ignores the large amounts of crime that occurred pre-20th century that shows relatively high offending rates.  Also, we have more crimes today than there was 200 years ago.  

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  71. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    >rightoverlabour (5) Says:

    nasska – rape, no problem with the death penalty for that. Rapists are seldom re habitable anyway. Ask any women ( I am male) that has been raped if they would feel strongly against the death penalty.

    Ok.(having been pushed very reluctantly into ‘outing’ myself on a thread a few months ago).
    Yes, VERY strongly against the death penalty.

    It’s not about how scummy the offender is. It’s about me being better than them. I couldn’t kill anyone or ask anyone else to do so on my behalf. (yeah, we need armies etc, sadly. But we don’t NEED to kill prisoners).

    1/ Revenge isn’t justice.

    2/ Too many miscarriages of justice

    3/ juries less likely to convict, perhaps, if capital sentence

    4/ In case of rape, rapist more likely to kill victim to avoid being caught (if going to be hanged for rape, no worries about compounding it by murder

    5/ Death Row in US: people there for years, pending appeals etc, just waiting to be executed, seems medieval to me

    6/ What degree of rape would you call capital anyway? Strangers in dark alleys? Or the bloke I knew who spiked my drink?

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  72. reid (15,981 comments) says:

    I don’t think that’s true nasska.

    It essentially means holding people to account for their own actions and teaching them from a young age what responsibility means and what respect and love firstly for yourself and secondly for others also means and if that means the state has to break the door down to make that happen then so be it.

    It’s got nothing to do with race or any interest groups other than the crims and potential crims themselves, notwithstanding some will so allege. I admit it’s not an easy sell since it means breaking into lefty misconceptions about the cause of cwime (poverty) and destroying that myth and the cognitive dissonance would be overwhelming. Theoretically however, it’s entirely possible.

    Why I’ve had several lefties undergo quite dramatic transformation in the lab and they’ve never been the same since. It’s quite remarkable, like deprogramming one of those cult people. They thank me every day. It’s not yet on a commercial scale but it’s coming along. You don’t happen to have Stephen Tindall’s private number on you perchance?

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  73. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    reid,

    agree re the cause of crime not being poverty. Oddly enough, crime went down during the Great Depression, a pattern we have seen in subsequent recessions.

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  74. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    The following may be useful to the discussion.

    Sub-atomic Particles and Prisoners: A novel examination of Socio-physics and Penology

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  75. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    The paper above was from “International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences” and not physics.

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  76. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    reid

    …”I admit it’s not an easy sell”….

    This sentence demonstrates an unbelievable talent for understatement. The salesman/woman pushing that pitch would be the greatest optimist the country has produced.

    Sorry, Stephen Tindall changed his private number after our last conversation…..he was muttering something about mendicants & beggers.

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  77. rightoverlabour (70 comments) says:

    MaryRose

    You make compelling arguments

    Agree with 1 and 2 completely. Not sure about 3. The scenario I am contemplating is a recidivist, non remorseful re-offender. Not sure if a rapist thinks logically as you suggest in 4, but it could be an issue.

    Point 5 Yup, Death row in the USA is a circus. (but I would argue that much of the US judicial system is stuffed anyway). As for point 6, is there a difference? There is literature on the types of rapists and their motivation, it is worth reading, but insufficient space here for lengthy discussion.

    I don’t have an absolute position on the death penalty, the arguments against it are not trivial. However, allowing recidivist, non remorseful, re-offenders back into society is happening, and new victims do result. The death penalty may be a solution (amongst others) to resolve this problem. Even if it is brought back only for the most extreme cases ( Graham Burton etc).

    Most importantly, I think the debate is worth having.

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  78. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    just re appeals, the NZ system would be far quicker than the US. At a guess, the CA would hear a death penalty case about 6 months or so after the verdict, then leave or refusal of leave to appeal to the SC would come within a couple of months. Any application for clemency could then be made after that. Let’s say that an execution would probably take place in NZ within 12 months of a sentence of death.

    The English system was to have the appeal heard and dispoesd of within 6 weeks of verdict, to be kinder to the prisoner under sentence of death. Execution generally within 3 months.

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  79. Scott Chris (5,896 comments) says:

    F E Smith says:- “how can we know whether they will actually act on their opinion unless they are released?”

    Well I guess that would be up to the parole board and the expert psychological assessors, as well as a judge if the parole board recommends a continuation of detention. Closely observing and monitoring the actions of the individual when they are released, as well as providing them with adequate support to readjust to the demands and temptations of society would be desirable. Isn’t that what happens anyway?

    For men such as Peter Ellis and David Dougherty, they were both found to be reasonable men, especially the former, so I’d imagine that whilst they maintained their innocence, they would have complied with the various attitude tests that a prisoner is subjected to in prison.

    Stewart Wilson, from what I have gathered, is either too stupid or too stubborn to even pretend to be reasonable. Perhaps if he were to be faced with the prospect of indefinite detention, he would be forced to change his attitude.

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  80. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    Scott,

    I would doubt that Ellis would have undertaken the sex offenders courses as required by his sentence. And he continued to deny his offending. Neither is seen as being reasonable by either Corrections or the Parole Board.

    And don’t forget that as far as the Crown is concerned, Ellis is in actual fact a paedophile.

    Closely observing and monitoring the actions of the individual when they are released, as well as providing them with adequate support to readjust to the demands and temptations of society would be desirable. Isn’t that what happens anyway?

    Hmm, depends on the situation, as well as the parole officer.  Too variable to really go into here.  But definitely not consistent.  When you can be recalled to prison for getting a job (not a bad job, but any job) without the officer’s permission, then you might see what I am talking about.

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  81. publicwatchdog (2,111 comments) says:

    And National’s policy on ‘white collar’ CRIME is??????

    Oh yes – that’s right.

    National’s Minister of Justice (and Commerce) – Simon Power, did not complete the legislative changes to NZ domestic legislation in order for NZ to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption.

    National’s Minister of Justice (and Commerce) – Simon Power is going through the ‘revolving door’, to head Westpac Private Bank.

    hmmm…………….. could these events be linked in any way?

    When it comes to fighting ‘white collar’ CRIME – is it arguably a ‘conflict of interest’ for the Minister of Justice to also be the Minister of Commerce?

    Anyone got any stats on ‘white collar’ CRIME?

    Given that there have been 64 finance industry collapses since 2006 – pity that there appears to be no ‘lead agency’, and no clear ‘chain of command’ between the Police and SFO (who report to the Minister of Police), and the Finance Markets Authority (FMA) – who report to the Minister of Commerce?

    NZ – ‘perceived’ to be the least corrupt country in the world, along with Singapore and Denmark – according to the 2010 Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’?

    yeah right………….

    Penny Bright
    Independent Candidate for Epsom.
    Campaigning against ‘white collar’ CRIME, corruption (and its root cause – privatisation), and ‘corporate welfare’.

    waterpressure@gmail.com

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  82. Bogusnews (444 comments) says:

    I watch a lot of cases on the Crime Investigation channel on Sky, it’s interesting to see the punishments handed out to criminals. For example, one bad swine who killed a child was given 50 years with no chance of parole. The detective said he was really disappointed as “he should get a lot more”.

    A serial rapist was given 297 years.

    I can’t help but compare this to the pathetic sentences we dish out over here, life sentence meaning in for twelve years but out in 8. If I was a victim in NZ I would really feel short changed.

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  83. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    One of a governments duties is to protect it’s citizens against pending threats to life. Civil detention is a measure intended to address the certainty of a violent offender re-offending – this is generally obvious because he or she says they will, or are exhibiting a highly observable pattern of behavior that indicates danger to those around them. That’s the thing about murderers and other assorted crazies. They act – well-CRAZY. And they hurt people. You’re not going to get civil detention for stealing an ice-block. You’ll get it after raping, killing and bashing those in authority with obvious indications you’ll go again. Criminals are the type of people who will convince you they are the sweetest person on earth while they are knifing your neighbour. Those puling about civil liberties may not have met real live criminals who can’t be rehabilitated.

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  84. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    What I find interesting about National’s wider policy on crime and civil order is that while they have been trumpeting the “tough on crime” message in their advertising and public pronouncements in reality the police have been “requested” to put as few people as possible before the courts and to issue warnings instead. Hardly toughening up on crime, I would have thought.

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  85. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Some of the parole hearings are a joke anyway with certain panel members being barely competent. Caruthers should spend more time making sure they are are to scratch and less time blowing hot air at conferences..I do feel a bit sorry for them because Collins talks them up when it suits her and throws them under the bus when it suits her..This is usually when her dept, Corrections , stuffs up by not providing reports etc.
    Why does a country this size need 19 prisons especially as all the white collar crims walk free..the few who do jail time spend all their time writing to the UN and declaring they have done nothing wrong , to anyone who will listen. I am sure all the ripped off elderly have a different view of their actions.

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  86. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Good post Penny ..I harp on about white collar crime here but few others mention it..Almost every day in our papers , we can read about people who have stolen , thousands or millions from others, only to be given home detention. A friend who works at a minimum security jail..lets face it they only ever go to min. facilities , says that white collar crims never show any remorse ;and that they always know their rights down to the last T.

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  87. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Fictional themes and characters from TV Series Numb3rs as shown in the blog post below, may become reality.

    Gangs and Statistical Mechanics

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  88. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    I’ve just came across the following which may be useful to research criminologists who lurk around this thread.

    Nonlinear Patterns in Urban Crime: Hotspots, Bifurcations, and Suppression

    The software codes for the simulation described in the paper is available for request from the lead author.

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